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subbarao1

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Reply with quote  #16 
Just because Indian musicians have no choice but to improvise doesn't neccessarily mean the music is evolving. From what I've heard the quality of dhrupad is not what it used to be, and so just because the music isn't note for note the same doesn't mean it is expanding in any meanignful sense. But there are of course great, creative dhrupadiyas out there.

I believe there are many people and societies around the world who still celebrate Baroque. It might not be changing, but it's heart is still beating. And Baroque pieces are often played as standard fare in performances, whereas in most cases I see dhrupad presented as something of a novelty or rarity.

By some measures Dhrupad has a lot more vitality, sure. That is creative nature of Indian music. But in my honest observation I see quite often Dhrupad presented or discussed in some special context whereas Bach is...well just Bach.
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "subbarao1"
Just because Indian musicians have no choice but to improvise doesn't neccessarily mean the music is evolving. From what I've heard the quality of dhrupad is not what it used to be, and so just because the music isn't note for note the same doesn't mean it is expanding in any meanignful sense. But there are of course great, creative dhrupadiyas out there.

I believe there are many people and societies around the world who still celebrate Baroque. It might not be changing, but it's heart is still beating. And Baroque pieces are often played as standard fare in performances, whereas in most cases I see dhrupad presented as something of a novelty or rarity.

By some measures Dhrupad has a lot more vitality, sure. That is creative nature of Indian music. But in my honest observation I see quite often Dhrupad presented or discussed in some special context whereas Bach is...well just Bach.
hi there,

once again i must respectfully dissagree. you say that just because ICM is improvised doesnt mean it is evolving, but i cant see how that is. to be improvosed, by definition, means to be constantly evolving.

i love bach. i think he was one of the greatest musicians of all time. but what you said about dhrupad is exactly how i, and many others, feel about not only baroque but all western classical music. the heart is still beating, but its in a coma being kept alive by a machine which refuses to let it die. classical music does not occupy a large role in 99.99999% of american's lifes. concerts are attend, as you believe dhrupad concerts are attended, as a novelty. the only exception are the incredibly small number of people who actually love the music itself.

those baroque societies you mention are not attended well. i was an usher at Jordan hall in boston a while back, and the hall was half emty during performances by societies such as the Handle and Hyden societ, and Boston Boroque. those organizations, like most classical music organizations, are not kept alive by ticket sales (in fact a relatiely small amout of money is actually generated from attendance) but by the generous support of private, federal, and coorperate benefactors. is that situation indicitive of a healthy and thriving music? i cant say i think it is.

i dont believe ICM is different in many senses from this. but just as its easy for westerners to romantacize about indian music and its role in society, its also easy to romantacize about western music.

just my opinion. just me talking

best

jf

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adunc069

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Reply with quote  #18 
Yeah, i am definetly guilty of having this romanticized ideal of ICm. You know, the courts patronizing musicians, gurus being able to teach under the old system, gurus supporting small villages with their earnings, etc...

There is to a lrage extent a huge problem with western classical. Being a composer myself, I know for a fact that any "new" music being written that has any connection with the past eras of west music is looked down upon as being un-inventive, un-creative, non-thinking kind of music or any other words to scholarily demean other composers. Any thing that is not new and pshin the boundaires of musical creativity is considered crap. So this is the state of western classical music. All of the theorists who have no talent to actually play music (by the way, being able to play classical music is the lowest level of achievement in the musical shcholar world) have taken over the composition world. Basically 20th century music has been taken over by a bunch of brilliant mthematician/spare time musician composers. And trust me, I had to learn advanced physics at a university level to learn about today's composition techniques and it's all math Just assign a note name,value,duration,sequence, matrix and you've got yourself a piece of music that will be heralded as a great creation. Though when I write, I don't ues formulas, I like actually composing. So if anybody wants to brush up on their math skills, learn a bunch of really neat math formulas, and have the craving of learning how to invert any set class of numbers and turn it iinto music, then go study west music at a university. If you don't want to then take it from me, asfter spending $6000 per term for 4 years, I feel REALLY RIPPED OFF!!!!

ANyways, I think the challenge is there for both genres, west classical and east classical. Both have to be creative, but ICM has developped their styles and genres as did WCM, both have their own connaissuers who constantly trash each others value. The thing is though, I think ICM historians have taken the hold of the "scholarly world" where as theorists have talken hold of WCM

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subbarao1

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Reply with quote  #19 
Hey,

>to be improvised, by definition, means to be constantly evolving

Does it?

What about devolving? Just because something changes, doesn't neccesarily mean it gets any better. Rusting, dying and deterioration are also states of change, and can occur during a single improvistory performance, or the life an improvistory genre.

Indian music has gained much by the improvisiton based oral tradition, but it also put it at risk. Many people are improvising on a technical level, but are their improvisitions making music any better? Are they making it worse?
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Joshua Feinberg

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "subbarao1"
Hey,

>to be improvised, by definition, means to be constantly evolving

Does it?

What about devolving? Just because something changes, doesn't neccesarily mean it gets any better. Rusting, dying and deterioration are also states of change, and can occur during a single improvistory performance, or the life an improvistory genre.

Indian music has gained much by the improvisiton based oral tradition, but it also put it at risk. Many people are improvising on a technical level, but are their improvisitions making music any better? Are they making it worse?
im sorry, but i do not agree with that definity of evolving. de-evolution would involve going backwards. iron turning to rust, or ICM becoming stagnant are not de-evolutions, they are evolutions to which one would apply the value judgment of 'bad'. they are still evolving, but in a way that is not ideal for asthetics, etc. . .

i agree that the encorperation of improvisation of ICM puts it at risk but it also opens the tradition up to wonderful moments of inspiration and genius. not to say those moments cant exist in composed music, but not in the same way. its a different animal. absolutely there is an element of risk in improvisation, but without risk, nothing can be gained.

'Risk your life on every note,'-Charlie Hayden

jf

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jaan e kharabat

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Reply with quote  #21 
Hi all

my opinion on the quality of ICM performance: the last 50 years have seen some of the alll time greatest performers in ICM, particularly in vocal khiyal. Dhrupad is definitely on the decline, but there were still some outstanding musicians around. The twentieth century is really the golden age of ICM. There had never been so many brilliant artists as there were in this period. And instrumental music has truly come into its own in this period also, one can safely say that instrumental music was light years ahead of anything in previous periods.

Every gharana or style has had a huge stalwart or two to look up to in the last century. Ok there seems to be a little lull at the very moment, the older masters are nearing their end and new ones have not yet established themselves in their place but that is to be expected after the highes of the last century.

And whats more, we have alot of it on tape! So lets just enjoy it.

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If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?
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Anonymous

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Reply with quote  #22 
Nothing is "as good as it used to be in the good old days". The truth is - if one wasn't there - one can only vainly speculate. And in the end what does it matter if the form is evolving? Is the Mona Lisa evolving? Is War and Peace evolving? The wonderful thing about ICM is that you have a classic "form" that stays essentially the same - but allows the player to genuinely express his individual essence within the context via flights of improvisation - in a way that is not permissable with Bach, which has to be mechanically reproduced note-for-note - flashes of nuance and "personality" notwithstanding.
Cheers,
Keshav
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subbarao1

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Posts: 27
Reply with quote  #23 
Keshav,

I agree with you.

BTW, since when does to devolve mean to move backwards?

And even if what I described were indeed "bad" evolutions, that only serves my point -- what is the good with "evoltution" in and of itself, if it can indeed be "bad"?

Aside from freshness, not neccessarily much.

And also, I thought traditionally Baroque allowed for quite a bit of improvisiton. Maybe that was only the case during the era itself?

Subbarao
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adunc069

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Posts: 316
Reply with quote  #24 
Hi, I think in both West and Indian classical music there has been a decline in overall musicianship. There are few excfeptonal stalwarts of both West and Indian music today. For Instance, west court musicians used to teach the royal kids music, write at least 40 to 60 new pieces every week, perform this music and teach the royal family music too. Maybe the musicians are'nt as busy today but I think that gives them more time to concentrate on their playing.

So that being said I'm not sure if Ustads in the court taught the royalty as part of the job, nor do I know if they had to write new pieces like that but in essence this is because of the death of the patronage system in both west and eastern cultures. Alap used to be played for 2-3 hours, take a break then go play the gat. So in my humble opinion, without the courts, there's just not as much time for appreciation, development. Maybe the music has stopped evolving but there's some great players. But I don't think ICM has stopped evolving. I saw a video of a sitarist using a guitar harmonic technique so that's definetly imp[ementing a new thing.

I don't know much about sarod techniques but I saw a concert where the host exp[lained a few of Tejendra Majumdars new techbiques that Ali Akbar was working on, so obviously like any instrumewnt/genre, people are still trying to be innovative. So , that's myevolutionary 2 cents.

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Anonymous

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Posts: 987
Reply with quote  #25 
"Alap used to be played for 2-3 hours, take a break then go play the gat."

I don't care it was Tansen or Khusaro or Thyagaraj themselves - I wouldn't want to listen to three hours of alap. Anymore than I would want to listen to Miles Davis playing Some Day My Prince will come for five hours. I expect I might take heat for saying this but . . . it's a known facet of Indian arts in general - the tendancy to take an inspired raga or riff - or story idea and stretch it out for ever and ever until it's as thin as the silver wrapping on a 50 paise candy at the Bengali sweet shop. The original Mahabharata is something like 18 large tomes and really the story is very effectively told in under 350 pages. Same thing with Bollywood films which average something like 4 hours and are crashingly boring to anyone with more than a fifth grade education. The fact that ICM progams are currently compact is a positive step away from hours of flailing gnat notes. Succinctness can be sweet. The age of the Guitar Hero is dead. Thank God! At one time I worshipped Joe Pass - and then one night in London I sat next to him and listened to him do an extended set where he showboated for God knows how long - with never a pause or a grace note. It was cool for about 20 minutes - but after that it was like being hit over the head with a hammer.
I was in Delhi for to a concert with Amajad Ali Khan and sons two years ago that went on for over 5 hours. Absolutely nobody could sit still after the first two hours. Folks were yakking on the phone, passing out samosas and jelebies and playing their Gameboys. It was a joke. Nobody can hold the attention of an audience for such extended hours. It's supremely unreasonable to think otherwise. Read the history books and you find that in the days of Tansen - the attendees at the durbar - especially royalty - were constantly nodding out on opium - hence only vaguely present to begin with. The court muscians were largely background music for getting high and screwing young boys. Of course for some that would be the "good old days".
Cheers,
Keshav
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jaan e kharabat

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Posts: 1,401
Reply with quote  #26 
Like I said before, Hindustani music had never been as good as it was in the 20th Century. And we are not so far from that period, so lets not try to criticise the way past because we have different values and different tastes, we will never fully understand them as we they would probably never forgive us our ways.
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If there are just ''six tones'' in an octave [sic] then why have frets for tones that don't exist?
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AbdulLatif

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Posts: 449
Reply with quote  #27 
Quote:
Originally Posted by "adunc069"
Yeah, i am definetly guilty of having this romanticized ideal of ICm. You know, the courts patronizing musicians, gurus being able to teach under the old system, gurus supporting small villages with their earnings, etc...

There is to a lrage extent a huge problem with western classical. Being a composer myself, I know for a fact that any "new" music being written that has any connection with the past eras of west music is looked down upon as being un-inventive, un-creative, non-thinking kind of music or any other words to scholarily demean other composers. Any thing that is not new and pshin the boundaires of musical creativity is considered crap. So this is the state of western classical music. All of the theorists who have no talent to actually play music (by the way, being able to play classical music is the lowest level of achievement in the musical shcholar world) have taken over the composition world. Basically 20th century music has been taken over by a bunch of brilliant mthematician/spare time musician composers. And trust me, I had to learn advanced physics at a university level to learn about today's composition techniques and it's all math Just assign a note name,value,duration,sequence, matrix and you've got yourself a piece of music that will be heralded as a great creation. Though when I write, I don't ues formulas, I like actually composing. So if anybody wants to brush up on their math skills, learn a bunch of really neat math formulas, and have the craving of learning how to invert any set class of numbers and turn it iinto music, then go study west music at a university. If you don't want to then take it from me, asfter spending $6000 per term for 4 years, I feel REALLY RIPPED OFF!!!!

ANyways, I think the challenge is there for both genres, west classical and east classical. Both have to be creative, but ICM has developped their styles and genres as did WCM, both have their own connaissuers who constantly trash each others value. The thing is though, I think ICM historians have taken the hold of the "scholarly world" where as theorists have talken hold of WCM
Get downnn Adunc,
I too am baffled by most of whats being foisted on the commoners and applauded by the syncophants as "Classical" music in the west. I basically a barbarian but do appreciate music with lyricism and emotional content. And your point about innovation and creativity as being the fastest route to shunning by the proper people is dead on. I have the same feeling about what passes for Modern Art nowdays. Toss out form realism, symbolism and coherent intellectualism and call it art, while building a guild around the "art" and using obsfucation and elitism drive the market price and distribution of the funding into a closed and incestous circle of friends.
I've been in ICM for 30 years and still can't always seperate my own overly romantic, Rossouian mythology from the reality of the history and development of ICM let alone speak coherently about Dhrupad. I will however add that from my perspective Dhrupad is indeed in a very venerable and esteemed position in the classical music of India and should not be written off as archaic or dying, its recent upsurge in the West will I believe bode well for the survival and reinvigoration of the form.

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